Tinnitracks might be the solution to ending that ringing in the ears for good.

There have been several well documented attempts to treat tinnitus over the past few years – most recently a nerve implant in the ear – but none have been hugely affordable or practical. However, an app called Tinnitracks, which was one of nine winners at SXSX’s Accelerator startup competition this weekend, might provide the solution.

The ringing in the ears that characterises tinnitus actually originates in the brain, a result of changes in the signals sent from the ear to neurons in the brain’s auditory cortex. Tinnitracks claims to treat the cause of the problem through audio therapy that takes advantage of neuroplasticity – the human brain’s ability to adapt over time.

The treatment is based on a clinically proven therapy developed by researchers at the University of Muenster, and involves listening to music with the specific frequency that causes the patient’s tinnitus filtered out. Over time, this should tone down the nerve signal imbalance in the brain to something more healthy.

The treatment plan itself actually sounds fairly enjoyable – once you’ve entered your tinnitus frequency (which has to be determined by a specialist), you select some MP3s from your collection and get the Tinnitracks app to filter out your tinnitus frequency. If any tracks are unsuitable it will let you know before uploading to your playback device for headphone listening. Tinnitracks recommends playing the filtered music for at least one hour per day for at least six months.

Tinnitracks is currently a web-based app only, but the company is also working on a smartphone app.  It isn’t cheap – € 539 buys a one-year license for unlimited song filtering – but it’s probably the most affordable treatment option currently on the market. You can find more information at the Tinnitracks website.

For more on the topic, read Angus Finlayson’s piece on dance music and hearing loss. [via Engadget]




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